Paris Airport Pandemonium as Bag Handler Breaks

Paris airport pandemonium as bag handler breaks

PARIS (AFP): With just one year to go before Paris hosts the Olympic Games, one of the city’s airports suffered an unprecedented breakdown Thursday that led to a mountain of luggage piling up and delayed flights.

A breakdown in the luggage-sorting equipment at terminal four of Orly airport meant that baggage had to be handled by hand.

That resulted in many flights leaving late and without the luggage of their passengers on board, according to airport operator ADP and airlines.

Luggage clogged the entrance of the terminal as travellers were told to leave their tagged bags behind.

The breakdown lasted from the start of operations in the morning until shortly before 7:00 pm (1700 GMT).

Airport operator ADP estimated 10,000 passengers on 40 flights were affected.

According to Marc Rochet, head of the French Bee and Air Caraibes airlines using the affected terminal, flights took off with delays between one and three hours — and without luggage that had been checked in. “We didn’t have another option, otherwise the whole system would be blocked,” he told AFP.

The luggage in the terminal will be transferred to a secure hangar and then put on following flights.

ADP tried to minimise the disruption by having planes use other terminals at Orly or use Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

Junior transport minister Clement Beaune called the situation “unacceptable”, coming just weeks after the government made a series of proposals to improve the quality of service ahead of the Olympic Games next year.

“This is exactly the type of concrete things that we need to watch,” said Beaune. “When one link of the chain breaks you have a really big problem.”

(Source: Daily Mirror)